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Sh2-64/W40 - An Obscured Star-Forming Region, 


            Jason Guenzel
Sh2-64/W40 - An Obscured Star-Forming Region

Sh2-64/W40 - An Obscured Star-Forming Region

Technical card

Resolution: 1698x2277

Dates:June 6, 2018June 14, 2018June 15, 2018June 16, 2018June 17, 2018July 2, 2018July 3, 2018July 4, 2018July 5, 2018July 6, 2018July 7, 2018July 17, 2018July 18, 2018July 19, 2018July 20, 2018

Astronomik Deep-Sky B 1.25": 25x240" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky G 1.25": 25x240" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky R 1.25": 25x240" -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik H-alpha 6nm CCD 1.25": 81x240" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
Astronomik L-3 UV-IR Block 1.25": 366x180" -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 28.7 hours

Darks: ~50

Flats: ~50

Bias: ~256

Avg. Moon age: 12.24 days

Avg. Moon phase: 41.66%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00 job: 2167112

RA center: 277.911 degrees

DEC center: -1.896 degrees

Pixel scale: 1.051 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 4.185 degrees

Field radius: 0.415 degrees

Data source: Backyard


Sharpless 64, also known as Westerhout 40, is one of the closest star forming regions that produces blue supergiant (Type O and B) stars. The area is less than 1500 light years away in the constellation Serpens. Unfortunately for us, the stars at the core of this nebula (in the pocket of the Ha area at the bottom of the image) are completely obscured in visible light. The only hint of their presence is the glowing ionized hydrogen shell that is visible here. Infrared and X-ray studies are needed to reveal approximately 500 stars in the core. These stars are a very young population at an average age of 1 million years. There is a multilayered veil of dusty filaments covering the whole area, ranging from a deep black through chocolate brown, and even including luminous blue reflection nebula. On a whole, the structures are very faint with low-contrast and only deep exposure can reveal the true detail.

I think I can safely say that this is the most challenging target I've attempted with my main imaging rig. The details and color contrast are just so subtle. I put a lot of time on target and still had just a tremendous struggle with processing. If I had to do it over …. I would not even start, lol.

I hope it presents well because it represents a lot of work. I feel the time is ripe to move on.




Jason Guenzel
License: None (All rights reserved)

Sky plot

Sky plot


Sh2-64/W40 - An Obscured Star-Forming Region, 


            Jason Guenzel